• 43°

Rock Hill school board creates new positions

ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP — The help wanted signs are hanging these days in front of the Rock Hill school board office.

In a special meeting last month, the board voted 3-2 to hire three three-hour cooks and three part-time substitute bus drivers. The board also voted 3-2 to create three positions for janitor/maintenance trainees.

Then earlier this week at another special meeting, the board voted 3-2 to hire seven janitor/maintenance trainees, instead of the three positions they wanted to create just weeks before.

Board members Jackie Harris, Ora Cox and Rich Donohue voted for the new positions.

Cox said the new positions voted on this week were necessary.

“They’re trainees is what they are. We had some bus drivers that bid on some other jobs and we felt like we needed to have trainees to take their place. The bus drivers may not stay in that position and if they don’t those trainees can move up,” Cox explained. “We originally were going to hire five people, but two of those people that had bid on it were bus drivers (for the maintenance and janitor positions). So we felt like they probably wouldn’t stay because of the pay rate … and because of that, it was my thinking if they don’t stay they’re going to end up having to hire a couple more so we went ahead and hired all seven people. And if those two go back to bus driving … then those five people can move on up.”

Cox said he did believe the positions were necessary based on what was recommended by superintendent Lloyd Evans.

“I’m just one board member, but we have to go on what the superintendent recommends. He feels like these positions are necessary. As a matter of fact he was questioned numerous times about this by me, and Mrs. Jenkins and Mr. Hankins. But you know we were just going on his recommendation and I felt like he knew what (Evans) was doing, or should.”

Board member Wanda Jenkins was one of the two board members voting against the new positions. Dennie Hankins also opposed the idea. Jenkins questioned the wisdom of hiring so many people all at once and the timing of the hirings as well — immediately after the election in which two board members were defeated, but before the new members come on board.

“I think we should have waited until the new board comes in so they could have input,” Jenkins said.

This is not the first time a “lame duck” Rock Hill board has been questioned about changes made before leaving office. Four years ago, Harris, Donohue and former member Troy Hardy voted to give Superintendent Lloyd Evans a five-year contract, a move the new board attempted to reverse when they took their seats. The new board then non-renewed Evans’ contract. Evans sued to keep his job and won.

Then a citizens group successfully removed three board members, Jenkins, Lavetta Sites and Paul R. Johnson for various acts of wrongdoing in office.

Jenkins was re-elected to the board weeks later. Sites and Johnson were re-elected to the board last month.